Recruiting has been and will be the focus through national signing day on February 3rd. Chris Ash and his staff are starting to make headway with this recruiting class, gaining four commitments in the past four days. They have received verbal pledges from tight end Korab Idrizi from Bergen Catholic, athlete K.J. Gray from St. Peter's, outside linebacker Tyreek Williams from Timber Creek, and the quarterback of the future, Tylin Oden, from Tennessee. There is good reason to be hopeful that Ash will receive more commitments before next Wednesday's official signing day, as Rutgers is hosting a large group of recruits this weekend for official visits.
In addition to recruiting, there has been a lot newsworthy items that have occurred in the past week regarding Rutgers football. Let's get caught up!
Last season, Rutgers held their spring game on a Friday night and it was televised by BTN for the first time. The reported attendance was 15,782, which was the sixth highest of the eleven Big Ten schools that announced those figures. Let's hope with the game on a Saturday night and renewed enthusiasm for the new coaching staff that we break that mark this year.
Another scheduling note, Rutgers announced next season's homecoming game will be on October 15 vs. Illinois. Pencil that in as a noon kick.— Scott Logan (@IAmScottLogan) January 27, 2016
Rutgers likes to schedule the annual homecoming game at noon to curb the "enthusiasm" of students and fans attending. Rutgers has a chance to win their first homecoming game against a Big Ten team for the first time in program history. Wisconsin won in 2014 on a miserable day, both on the field and with the weather. Last season Rutgers beat Kansas 27-14 on Homecoming.
SAVE THE DATE!! Thurs Feb 18th 6pm- NJFCA is sponsoring a Coaches Social at RU. ALL NJ COACHES ARE INVITED!!! Come meet Coach Ash & Staff!!— NJFCA (@NJFCA) January 16, 2016
Coach Ash continues to make a concerted effort to connect and establish relationships with high school coaches in New Jersey. Events like these are paramount in doing so. With securing commitments from players from Bergen Catholic, Timber Creek, St. Peter's and Piscataway high schools already in this recruiting cycle, Ash is seeing immediate results. No matter where the recruiting class ends up ranked after national signing day, this fact alone should make Rutgers fans very excited for the future.
Jacked up to be a part of the new regime at the birthplace of college football!!! Let's get it. #AshEra— Jordan Salkin (@Jordan_Salkin) January 25, 2016
There has been no official announcement regarding the hires of Jordan Salkin or Jim Monk from Rutgers. Salkin was a former offensive and special teams assistant at James Madison, having previously worked with Rutgers offensive coordinator Drew Mehringer and wide receivers coach Zak Kuhr. Monk was previously at Florida Atlantic in a quality control assistant role. With all nine full time assistant roles filled, Salkin and Monk will most likely be working as quality control assistants on coach Ash's staff.
Steve Longa Invited to NFL Combine
When Steve Longa announced he was leaving Rutgers early to enter the NFL draft, it was a bit of surprise, as he wasn't being projected to be drafted in the early rounds. However, it now seems his decision may pay off, as he received a coveted invite to the NFL combine. His performance there will be key in ultimately determining his draft status, but getting there was half the battle. Longa is currently training with Parabolic Performance & Rehab in Farmingdale, New Jersey.
Leonte Carroo at Senior Bowl
Carson Wentz, Leonte Carroo, Darian Thompson, Sheldon Rankins, Kenyan Drake some of the winners on day 2 of practice https://t.co/ao7d5PWJaS— Tony Pauline (@TonyPauline) January 28, 2016
Leonte Carroo has been showcasing his skills this week at practices for the Senior Bowl. He has been performing well and reaffirming his status as a NFL quality receiver. Here are two highlights:
Leonte Carroo making a contested catch during 1v1's. pic.twitter.com/k7Zq0brGsl— David Helman (@HelmanDC) January 27, 2016
Projections for Carroo's draft status is a bit all over the place at the moment. Pro Football Focus projects Carroo as the 4th best receiver and the 24th pick of the first round to Minnesota. WalterFootball.com has Carroo projected between rounds 3-5 and rate him as the 16th best receiver available in the draft. The godfather of the NFL draft, Mel Kiper Jr., has Carroo rated as the sixth best receiver available. CBSsports.com has Carroo rated as the 12th best receiver and project him as a third round pick. Here is a breakdown on Carroo from Fansided's New Orleans Saints site. His performance at the NFL combine will be key as well in determining his draft status. Unfortunately, he did suffer a setback yesterday and will not play in the Senior Bowl.
Update on Leonte Carroo -- Reaggravated ankle injury, not considered serious, out for Senior Bow: https://t.co/dAfPm6sgVI— Dan Duggan (@DDuggan21) January 28, 2016
Regardless, Carroo and Longa should both be expected to perform well at the NFL combine. Hopefully that is the case and they both help their cause. We will keep you updated leading up to the combine in April.
Rutgers wide receiver Leonte Carroo drew the most interest from Patriots, Ravens, Seahawks, Jets, Giants, Jaguars, Colts, 49ers, Buccaneers— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) January 28, 2016
We will continue to update you on everything Rutgers football! National Signing Day is less than a week away now on February 3rd!